In The Days of Giants: A Book of Norse Tales
Brown Abbie Farwell. In The Days of Giants: A Book of Norse Tales
THE BEGINNING OF THINGS
HOW ODIN LOST HIS EYE
THE GIANT BUILDER
THE MAGIC APPLES
THE DWARF'S GIFTS
THE QUEST OF THE HAMMER
THE GIANTESS WHO WOULD NOT
THOR'S VISIT TO THE GIANTS
IN THE GIANT'S HOUSE
BALDER AND THE MISTLETOE
THE PUNISHMENT OF LOKI
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In one place at the roots of Yggdrasil was a fair fountain called the Urdar-well, where the three Norn-maidens, who knew the past, present, and future, dwelt with their pets, the two white swans. This was magic water in the fountain, which the Norns sprinkled every day upon the giant tree to keep it green, – water so sacred that everything which entered it became white as the film of an eggshell. Close beside this sacred well the Æsir had their council hall, to which they galloped every morning over the rainbow bridge.
But Father Odin, the king of all the Æsir, knew of another fountain more wonderful still; the two ravens whom he sent forth to bring him news had told him. This also was below the roots of Yggdrasil, in the spot where the sky and ocean met. Here for centuries and centuries the giant Mimer had sat keeping guard over his hidden well, in the bottom of which lay such a treasure of wisdom as was to be found nowhere else in the world. Every morning Mimer dipped his glittering horn Giöll into the fountain and drew out a draught of the wondrous water, which he drank to make him wise. Every day he grew wiser and wiser; and as this had been going on ever since the beginning of things, you can scarcely imagine how wise Mimer was.
"Dear maiden," said Odin, "I have come a long, long distance to see you. Will you not bid me stay a little while?"
Gunnlöd looked at him kindly. "Who are you, and whence do you come so far to see me?" she asked.